He took 10 months away from the Octagon and returned this past July in Fight Island to face Darren Till - who he defeated via unanimous decision. Robert Whittaker next faces Jared Cannonier at UFC 254 in the co-main event.
That fight is being looked at as a number one contender's fight, especially since Israel Adesanya stated his desire to face Jared Cannonier next. Jared Cannonier will have to get through the former undisputed Middleweight king Robert Whittaker to get a shot at the gold.
Speaking to ESPN's Brett Okamoto, Robert Whittaker praised Israel Adesanya's dominant victory over Paulo Costa at UFC 253. He said that even though he doesn't like him, he's "bloody good" (H/T Thebodylockmma.com):
“Did I expect him to finish him in that fashion? No, I did not,” Whittaker told ESPN. “But everything leading up to the finish I saw as a possibility. He looked good in that fight man, gotta give it to him. I don’t like the guy [laughs] but he’s bloody good."
Breaking down what happened in the UFC 253 main event, Robert Whittaker explained that it was less on Paulo Costa's lack of ability and more on how Israel Adesanya controlled him inside the Octagon:
“… I think Izzy really controlled him. A lot of people are gonna say Paulo Costa didn’t do much, and maybe he didn’t, but Izzy controlled that fight very, very well. It’s very hard for people to speak on Costa, why he didn’t do what he did because he was in there. It’s hard to move forward against a counter striker like that, especially when he’s making you pay every time you go in. Izzy just controlled that fight. Hats off to Izzy, good fight.”
Robert Whittaker called Israel Adesanya's counter striking "one of the best" that he's ever seen and said that a fighter has to wait for him to come forward and play his game rather than moving in on him.
He said that while he knew Israel Adesanya was good, the last couple of fights "reinforced" that for him.
Will Robert Whittaker get a title shot with a win at UFC 254?
Jared Cannonier is truly the dark horse of the Middleweight division. With emphatic finishes over David Branch, Anderson Silva, and Jack Hermansson, he will be looking to make the same impact against Robert Whittaker.
Robert Whittaker never avoids tough fights and if he is to beat Jared Cannonier, it's highly likely that he will secure a rematch against Israel Adesanya. The reigning Champion Israel Adesanya stated that he is willing to give Whittaker a second chance at gold if he defeats Jared Cannonier.Published 08 Oct 2020, 03:18 IST